Saturday, April 07, 2007

Control Freak

I am really getting boring with this whole weight loss thing. Last night I bored my roommate and my boyfriend to death talking about my new favorite website and how cool all the tools are and how I love keeping track of all of this stuff.

I don't know what it is. I think eating healthy and exercising and monitoring it all very closely with a very specific plan in mind gives me a much needed sense of control. Over the past couple of years I have become much less crazed about having a plan for everything. A year and a half ago I moved to DC with a clear plan in mind about how I was going to network and search and pound the pavement and do what it took to find a job in health care law and/or policy.

However, meeting my boyfriend a few days before I left Boston threw a whole wrench in the works. I spent the next several months doing a long-distance relationship and trying to figure out if I was moving back to Boston or staying in DC. My nicely laid plans for the future that I smugly thought I had figured out back when I decided to move to DC were suddenly all out the window.

Add to that the stresses of a long-distance relationship and feeling like I didn't know what exactly our status was with regard to the future and then not being able to find ANY sort of work in DC for the first several weeks I was there. I felt out of control.

I stopped keeping track of anything. I started popping over to the nearby McDonald's for McNuggets and Wendy's for a Frosty on a regular basis. One I started doing contract work, exhaustion set in as I crammed in the mandatory minimum 60 hours of work in 4-5 days so that I could spend every other weekend with Jason. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered that the only way I get through extreme physicial stress is by regular workouts. So I joined a gym and went almost every day, which helped. I didn't lose any weight, but I maintained, which I think is pretty miraculous in a job where you sit for 12-15 hours a day.

Eventually I decided to move back to Boston and I finally realized it was okay to not have a plan. That was a major lesson I learned in DC. I have always had a plan and for the first time in my life I realized I had NO idea what was going to happen in any aspect of my life. And I was shocked to discover that I could live with that.

I moved back to Boston with the promise of another contract job and a hope that networking with the attorneys I knew here would find me something at least kind of related to what I wanted to do with my life. I hoped that my relationship would eventually get to the point where we would get married.

Now I'm sort of in a holding pattern. I think there are things on the horizon, both career and relationship-wise, but I can't really be sure. I have no control over the job thing because the market is saturated with attorneys and I am completely dependent on whether someone likes my resume enough to actually talk to me. I have little control over the relationship because, while I could leave, I don't really want to, and there is another person involved, who also has his own choices to make and freedom to do what he wants. You can't really have absolute control when someone else's emotions and desires come into play in an equal amount to yours.

Sometimes I feel like I took a giant step backward, heightened by the fact that I'm living in the same apartment I lived in right before I left Boston. Sometimes I am thrilled to be here and to have great roommates and a boyfriend who loves me. I like Boston in a way I never did before, appreciating its character and charm.

At the beginning of this year I set a goal to get healthy again, having gained back 20 of the 15 pounds I lost in 2005 (yes, that's 5 more than I lost). Keeping meticulous track of food and calories burned, and commiserating with others who are also working on weight loss, helps me to stay in control of my body when I am in control of absolutely nothing else in my life.

I think the fact that I am satiated by the diet control and am not experiencing panic attacks where my throat feels like it is closing and I can hardly breathe because I have NO IDEA where my life is headed, is a major improvement over a year and a half ago. I don't feel like the world is going to end anymore because I lack a sense of omniscience. Instead, I can be okay with not knowing.

However, apparently I'm becoming a bore.


Rachel said...

"Keeping meticulous track of food and calories burned, and commiserating with others who are also working on weight loss, helps me to stay in control of my body when I am in control of absolutely nothing else in my life."

That sentiment sounds exactly the same way I felt when was anorexic and bulimic.

I think its one thing to be cognizant of what you are eating, and why you eat it, but to focus so completely on food and calories to the point where its all you think about and talk about with family/friends is bordering on disorderedness.

Kelly said...

Rachel, yeah I can see how it would sound like that and I know that the sense of control within chaos is a strong force for people with anorexia or bulimia. Honestly, though the only people I talk about it with are my boyfriend, my roommates, and a friend of mine who is also pursuing her own weight loss efforts. I was exaggerating when I said it's all I talk about.

I like knowing that I'm taking care of myself and working on getting to a healthy weight. I eat within a healthy range (right now 1430-1780 calories a day) and work out regularly. It's just something that gives me a little bit of order when the rest of my life isn't very orderly.